Melanie: Recently, you went to the hospital for a rapid heartbeat. In medical language you were “cardioverted,” a technology you invented more than 50 years ago!
Grandpa: Yes, I was cardioverted twice in close succession. Both times it was for the same heart rhythm disorder — atrial fibrillation.
Melanie: What is atrial fibrillation? Can you explain the concept to someone whose scientific education ended with high school biology? Continue reading
Melanie: Grandpa, let’s talk about your recent hospitalization. It sounds like quite a stressful experience.
Grandpa: I underwent a successful abdominal operation. The surgeon and surgical staff were first rate. The technology was cutting edge. I was transferred from surgical intensive care to a large private room and was visited by many doctors.
Melanie: So why the stress?
Grandpa: It began with the taking of vital signs. Every four hours, a nurse’s aid took my temperature, blood oxygen concentration, pulse rate and blood pressure. During the seven days I was hospitalized these values didn’t alter a speck. My daily weights were not followed, though a must in post-operative care. Continue reading
Melanie: Our last post focused on the recent op-ed by Dr. Gilbert Welch in the New York Times about overtreatment. After spending a good amount of time with you, Grandpa, I feel like you have more to say.
Grandpa: Melanie, you have imbibed the spirit of a healing physician reading between unspoken lines and sensitive to non-verbal cues.
Melanie: You praised the piece and Dr. Welch’s innovative work. Quite honestly, I thought he made a great case about what’s wrong with our health care system. Continue reading
Melanie: Grandpa, medical overtreatment is all over the news. Did you see the recent op-ed in the New York Times by Dr. Gilbert Welch?
Grandpa: Yes indeed. When Dr. Welch writes or speaks people need to listen. He is a professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, who with colleagues pioneered in researching this very subject.
Melanie: Haven’t you been saying for 45 years that Americans are being overtreated without supportive scientific or clinical data?
Grandpa: Yes, for decades my group and I persisted, some would call it sheer pigheadedness. Our clinical research, though reported in reputable medical and scientific journals, was largely ignored. Continue reading
Melanie: Grandpa, you look charged with energy. Is it because you celebrated a 92nd birthday last week?
Grandpa: I believe in celebrating life by forgetting birthdays.
Melanie: Well, you must have asked my dad to write another haiku, because he read one at your party!
Grandpa: Fred’s Haiku was a poetic marvel. I continue to be astounded by his poetic ability. He is able to convey more meaning in three brief lines than most of us can in several pages of prose. Continue reading